Willoughby City Council consolidates OOSH and outsources LDC

Willoughby City Council consolidates OOSH and outsources LDC

by Freya Lucas

June 07, 2022

Willoughby City Council in New South Wales recently made determination about some of its community services, including an out of school hours (OOSH) service and a long day care (LDC) service as a means of ensuring these services remain viable, and continue to operate in a way that meets community needs and expectations.

 

At a meeting held in late May the Council unanimously determined that it would consolidate The Bales Park Out of School Hours (OOSH) centre at North Willoughby and outsource the management of The Devonshire Street Children’s Centre at Chatswood. 

 

“These decisions followed a review that has sought to identify under-utilised, loss-making or non-core services provided by the Council which can best be delivered by other organisations,” a statement from the Council noted.

 

Consolidation of Council’s Out of School Hours (OOSH) services

 

The Council currently operates OOSH services at Bales Park Pavilion at North Willoughby, Artarmon Kids Cottage and Chatswood Oval.

 

Current capacity across all centres is sitting at 40 per cent, with 73 out of 180 places filled. The centres will collectively record a deficit of $49,000 for 2021/22.

 

“This relatively low demand reflects the fact that more people are now working from home and the fact there has been an increase in the number of competing services located on school grounds,” the Council noted.

 

Following a period of review, the Council has determined that the Artarmon and Chatswood services will be retained with improvements to reduce costs and share resources across the services. Demand for these services is expected to increase in the next financial year.

 

The Bales Park service will cease operation on 30 June 2022.

 

This decision has been taken, Council said, because:

 

  • Bales Park currently only has a low (35 per cent) utilisation rate with an average of 16 children attending per day;

 

  • There are a number of other OOSH providers that have adequate vacancies to accommodate children currently attending Bales Park OOSH;

 

  • It is considered unlikely that demand for the service will return to a level that is financially sustainable; and, 

 

  • The Bales Park staff can be redeployed at alternate OOSH sites.

 

Devonshire Street Childcare Centre

 

The Devonshire Street Long Day Care Centre provides education and long day care for children aged birth to six years.

 

The Council has decided to outsource the centre’s operation to a reputable child care provider.

 

“As Devonshire Street is currently the only child care service operated by the Council, it requires a resource intense approach to ensuring adequate specialist operating and policy knowledge is maintained,” the Council stated.

 

“Given this, the Council has decided that a specialist provider with a broader operating base would be better placed to ensure community expectations, customer experience and social benefits are considered and maintained.” 

 

The Council will continue to function as the approved provider until such time as another provider is secured.

 

More information is available in the Council financial update.

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